Germany is situated in central Europe. It comprises the Central German Uplands (Mittelgebirge), the Southern German Highlands, and the North German Plain. Germany has a size approximate to that of Montana. Germany's major rivers are the Danube, the Weser, the Elbe, the Oder, and the Rhine. It has for its borders the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, and lies between the Netherlands and Poland, approximately south of Denmark.
The very first inhabitants of Germany were the Celtics. The Holy Roman Empire in the 14th century consisted of a loose federation of German princes. These princes nominated the Holy Roman Emperor. Later on, for a number of centuries, the Hapsberg line ruled Germany. After this came the Reformation and the Counter Reformation. The “Thirty Years War” that was fought over the dispute of who would succeed the Bohemian throne led to the fragmentation of German empire into small principalities. These principalities were not dependent on the emperor.
- Birth of the Second German Reich
There was the struggle between Prussia and Austria for supremacy in Germany. This led to the Seven Weeks War, which left Austria defeated. This was followed by the formation of Prussian-dominated North German Confederation (1867). The militarist Prussian Prime Minster, Otto von Bismarck, was responsible for this new German unity. In the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, King Wilhelm I of Prussia was named German emperor on Jan 18, 1871. The Second German Reich was soon formed with the abolishment of the North German Confederation. The Second German Reich now had both the North and South German states (HighBeam Research).
When Wilhelm came to power, Germany experienced a huge defeat in World War I. The Weimar Republic was next established, with the Communists being crushed by the Social Democrats and Ebert became President.
- Adolf Hitler and WWII
The guiding principles of the Allied Control Council which governed Germany were laid by Premier Stalin, President Truman, and Prime Minister Clement Attlee of Britain at the Berlin Conference. Former German communities located to the east of Oder-Neisse Line were to be governed by Poland and the city of Konigsberg was transferred to the USSR.
Disagreement between the West and the USSR led to USSR walking out of the council in 1948. A German state was consented to be set up with the three Western Zones by the US, France, Britain and the Benelux countries.
- Federal Republic of Germany
On May 23, 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was formed. The capital city was at Bonn. The Christian Democrats were voted for by the Germans and the Social Democrats formed the opposition. Theodor Heuss of the Free Democrats became first president, with Konrad Adenauer becoming chancellor.
- Democratic Republic of Germany
Total sovereignty for the Federal republic came on May 5, 1955. Under the agreements in Paris, West Germany and Italy were now part of the Brussels Treaty Organization. West Germany also joined the NATO. The Federal Republic was recognized by the USSR in 1955.
West and East Germany became obviously divided with the construction of the Berlin wall. It was only in 1973 that normal relations came into being between West and East Germany with the two states entering the Untied Nations.
- Berlin Wall Falls with Germany Reunifying
The Communist Government soon fell in East Germany. On Nov 9, 1989, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall took place and all was set for the reunification of Germany except for the Soviet’s objections to this. In Oct 30 1990, Gorbechev of the Soviet decided to drop his objections for financial assistance from West Germany. For the first time since 1945, Germany transformed into an united nation. The official capital of Germany has been the reunited Berlin since then.
- Important role Played by Germany in the European Union and NATO
Germany occupies a prominent position in the continent’s political, economical, and defense affairs. Following the German unification, the country has contributed huge funds to bring Eastern productivity and earnings up to Western standards. It was in January 1999, that the Euro, which is the common European exchange currency for Germany and 10 other EU countries, was introduced (Central Intelligence Agency).
Ever since the reunification of Berlin took place, Germany has managed to play a vital role in both the NATO and the European Union. To ensure security in the Balkans, a peacekeeping force was sent there by Germany. In addition, after the Taliban was ousted, German troops were sent to Afghanistan as a means of providing security in that country. This formed a part of the NATO’s efforts. However, these deployments were seen as controversial. This was because according to the domestic law in Germany, troops could be deployed only for defense proposes.
It was in 2005, that the first female Chancellor rose to power. She is Angela Merkel who took up leadership after a liberal-conservative coalition in 2009.
- Central Intelligence Agency, The World FactBook, 2013, Web. 17 Jun. 2013.
- HighBeam Research, LLC. Germany, 2005. Web. 17 Jun. 2013.